When I signed up for BBAW interview swap, I was a bit nervous. I am new to this book blog world and so you never know how a person is going to be. I think I may have lucked out. I was paired with Christie, over at the blog site Read 'em and Eat. Immediately I knew it was a perfect match. Books and food ding ding ding. Those are a few of my favorite things. I decided to write this kindred right away. Our interview went smoothly. We chatted back and forth through emails. I am sure everybody says this but I totally see myself keeping in contact with Ms. Christie and adding her blog to my read list. I am chatty especially about books and book lovers and I really enjoy getting to know them. So here is our very chatty interview below. Enjoy and then scoot over there and read her blog.
Casse: Okay first and foremost, Why do you love books?
Christie: You know what- I don't think I can answer this question. I've been in love with books and reading for my entire life. Both my parents were readers and we always had books in our house. My mom read to my brothers and I as kids and I think it probably started then. I remember that every year for my birthday and other special occasions my uncle would give me two hard-covered Bobbsey Twins books (yes, I know, I'm dating myself!) and I always knew I was getting them and I was always SO excited! I love books because you can disappear into them. Unlike television, which is relatively mindless, books require active participation and investment. Reading is an experience for your senses: you have to hold a book and turn its pages, you need to concentrate and you need to use your imagination.
Casse: What was the first book you totally fell for?
Christie: Again, this would be a long list! I have wonderful memories of all my childhood reading: Bobbsey Twins, Trixe Beldon, Enid Blyton. I also loved individual books: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier.
Casse: Okay name your top 5 books that you feel everyone has to read?
Christie: SavidgeReads suggested everyone do a Reader's Table...that is a table where you put piles of your favourite books to give away to people as they came to visit your house. It's not as easy as you'd think - choosing only 20 titles - but you can find my Reader's Table here: Christie's Reader's Table This list constitutes my favourite books...well, some of them at least!
Casse: How do decide which book you want to buy and read when you shop for books?
Christie: I actually have a book where I keep an alphabetical list of all the books I want to read. I write down anything I read about that sounds interesting. The book is small enough that I can carry it around with me in case I need it....but, honestly, there are over 1000 titles on the list so I don't really think I need anymore random books. I buy two books a month out of necessity: both for book clubs I'm in and then, generally, speaking I buy what appeals to me. (When I am not looking specifically for books from my list.) I also have a tbr shelf: that is, books I have purchased and not yet read. There are over 200 books on that shelf! One of Christie's bookshelves. FYI: I have an obsessesion with Bookshelves. lol
Casse: After you are done with a book what do you do with it? (ex: Sale, Trade, lend them out.)
Christie: I admit it, I have a HARD time parting with books. But I don't have limitless space, so I do purge every now and then- charity book sales generally benefit and I only give up stuff I know I won't read again or didn't like at all or mysteries, which - let's face it - once you've read them don't hold any further surprises! So, I might give away 20 books a year or so.
Casse: What do you do with your day when not reading? (Job, Stay at home mommy.)
Christie: There's nothing I like better than curling up on a rainy Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea and a book...but I don't get too many days like that! I am high school English teacher...but I have had a million other jobs: aerobics studio manager, television producer, freelance writer, book seller. I do have kids, a daughter, 12, and a son, 10, and I am happy to say they are both avid readers! (So is my husband which makes it a family thing, I guess!)
Casse: What authors do you “can't help but recommend” whenever the topic comes up?
Christie: I think I tend to recommend individual books rather than authors. It's true that when I love an author I tend to read several books, but it's rare that I love everything that they've written. (Carolyn Slaughter might be the exception to that rule.)
Casse: Why do you book blog?
Christie: I've been a blogger for several years now. I started over on Live Journal where I started to blog so I could hang out with fellow Buffy/Angel fans. I did have a book blog there and then decided that I'd really like to keep the two things separate. I like to talk about books, but really blogging is a terrific way to keep track of what I'm reading...sort of a running record. If other people drop by and want to talk...bonus!
Casse: Ok, you said you are a fellow writer which excites me because I love talking to other writers. What type of writing do you do? Is it genre exclusive? Do you find yourself gravitating towards reading books that fit into your writing style and type?
Christie: I've been a writer my entire life. I used to type out my stories on a little portable typewriter. I don't have any of them anymore, sadly. I do, however, have scads of stuff I wrote in high school - poems and short stories, all of it overwrought. I started writing in earnest again when I discovered fandom and fanfiction. And I have been plugging away at a novel for-freakin-ever! As a freelance writer I've published lots of articles...and I was the editor of my university paper...a million years ago! My taste in reading doesn't really have much to do with my writing. I generally read literary fiction, but I have been known to stray off the beaten track on occasion.
Casse: E-books are the new "thing" do you think you'll join the craze? The e-reader Companies are really trying to reach us women buyers, what can they do to actually reach us better in your opinion? They seem to think, make it pink and women will buy it lol which sadly works for me!
Christie: I know I should never say never, but NO! No part of me wants to join the e-Book craze. Part of my love of books has to do with their aesthetic. I like the way they feel in my hand and the way they look on my shelf when I'm done with them. I like covers and pages and an e-Reader (not that I've even actually held one) just doesn't do it for me.
Casse: As an English teacher doesn't it frustrate you when a student just doesn't get the point of literature? Do you find yourself trying to prove how great books are to them?
Christie: Nope. I think the worst thing you can do is try to force your opinion on someone else- especially a teenager who has dug their heels in. A love of reading, as I know you already know, starts very early. Some kids have no exposure to books at all and that's hardly their fault. So the worst thing I can do is wave 'literature' in their face and tell them to jump on the bandwagon. There's a whole school of thought out there now that students should be allowed to choose their own reading material...that we shouldn't force them to read To Kill a Mockingbird en masse. I think it would be a shame for them to miss out on that book, but I also think it's actually better for them to come to reading on their own terms. So, if they want to read drek (imho) like Twilight, let them. As long as they're reading, their taste will change and develop over time- just like mine did.
Casse: Is there a favorite book that you get your students to read every year just so you can keep talking about it?
Christie: Nope. First of all, there are certain prescribed books which are part of the curriculum. So, for example, Grade Nine students could be reading The Pearl or Cue for Treason. I taught The Pearl during summer school this year- it was the first time I'd ever read it. Simple story, but ugh...what 14 year old is going to actually relate to it? Casse: A student comes to you and says ''I hate reading and I hate books. What's the point?'' What do you say? What one book do you suggest to try and change that opinion?
Christie: I think kids say they hate reading if the only reading they've ever done is what they've been forced to do in school. So, I would suggest that they try to find a book that appeals to them. Classroom libraries are great for that because generally you've had a hand in choosing the books. If you can help them find that *one* book that speaks to them...then maybe you've set them on the path. S.E. Hinton books are great for reluctant readers. Not only are they topical and easy to read, when you tell students that she wrote The Outsiders when she was just 16- their interest in usually piqued. The other consideration is that kids hate to read when they struggle with it- and there are more kids with low literacy skills than there should be. So, of course you'd hate reading if you can't. Those kids need extra help....and a lot of patience and understanding.
Casse: Ok about your book taste are you a genre snob? I mean do you find yourself strictly reading the same type of books or is it a free for all? Whatever looks and sounds good you'll give it a try?
Christie: Well, hopefully I'm not a genre snob! I know I said I read literary fiction...but that's because that's what I mainly read. I also love horror and mystery and erotica and suspense thrillers. I would consider those types of books my palate cleansers...so I read two or three lit fic and then a mystery or something. I have read some speculative fic, but it's not really my thing. I don't generally read non-fiction, but I do enjoy memoirs. I like poetry and plays, too.
Casse: How do you feel about Author blogs do you find it helps their book sales? Does it influence you to pick up their books or do you rely on fellow readers reviews more?
Christie: I don't follow any author's blogs...although if my favourite authors kept one, I'd probably tune in.
Casse: If a blogger you read trashes a book are you more reluctant to buy it than you normally would be without the review or do you just say okay noted, and then take the risk on buying it?
Christie: First of all, I'd have to really trust the blogger. Some random blogger's opinion isn't likely to sway me if it's a book I *really* want to read. However, if it's a blog by someone whose opinion I've come to trust I might consider dropping the book from my tbr list.
Casse: How do you feel about book blogger contest, is it a good way to get readers or just a way to spread the love of books and share a good books?
Christie: I've never participated in a contest like this. I think they're neat, I guess. I think they probably accomplish both of the things you've mentioned: spreading book love, and getting people reading your blog- which is what you want.
Casse: When you have a friendly relationship with an author would you sort of feel obligated to not do a bad review of the books?
Christie: I don't have a friendly relationship with any writer. I've had one author thank me for a review. I've exchanged an e-mail with one author, whose first book I loved, but whose second I didn't love...even a little. I think my job is to be as honest as I can...but it's like anything else...balance is important.
Casse: Where do you buy books at the most? Bookstores, online ect?
Christie: I buy books from all sorts of different sources. I don't live in a very big city and until a year ago we didn't even have a big book store, just little chain stores with ridiculously small selections. I love going to our new Indigo and going through their bargain book section. A little used book store opened in town a few months ago. It sells fiction only and I try to visit every couple of weeks and buy something- just as a show of support. I do buy a lot of books online. I LOVE Bookcloseouts.com...and that brings me to this question: Do you feel awkward buying used books like half priced books or second hand book stores? I always do its like the writer worked so hard and I'm not paying them for the job I'm paying a random stranger for their job. Is it just me? and the answer would have to be, no. I don't feel awkward. By the time the books have already reached a company like bookcloseouts, the author has already made his or her money. These books are generally overstock. I'm still supporting the author. As for second hand books...it's just like recycling, isn't it?
Casse: Okay totally out the blue. But you mentioned Buffy and Angel and those were my shows!! Did you like Angel once the gang started working for Wolfram and Hart? I think it was done hill from there. The last show was...I didn't like it did you?
Christie: I am a huge Buffy/Angel geek. I loved both shows from start to finish and could still spend an entire day rewatching episodes. I didn't love all of Angel season 5...but I don't think the show went down hill. The series finale was, to me, perfect. How else could it end? It's a fanfiction writer's dream ending, really, because we don't know how it all played out in the alley.
Casse: Ok back to blogging. When do you blog? Do you dedicate a certain time of day to blogging? How much time, on average, per day do you spend working on your blog?
Christie: Sadly life is too busy for me to be a regular blogger. I post whenever I finish reading a book and whenever I have something book-related to say or ask.
Casse: If you could meet one author, who would you meet and why?
Christie: Wow- I have no idea, really. I think it would be cool to have a chat with Stephen King. Honestly, I don't know. There are just so many writers I admire, I wouldn't be able to narrow it down to just one.
Casse: How do you determine which book from your TBR pile you’ll read and in what order?
Christie: Depending on what I've just finished, I try to figure out what I feel like reading. The books on my tbr shelf (it's actually an entire bookcase) are all in alphabetical order. I stand in front of it and see what appeals. Do I want a quick read? A mystery? Horror? Chick lit? What I *have* to read for my book clubs also has to be factored in.
Casse: Okay what do you find the hardest, starting a new book or reading the last page of an amazing book? Why?
Christie: I don't find either of these things particularly difficult. I'm always excited to start a new book. And as long as I feel satisfied, I don't mind coming to the end of a book. A book I really like ends up being reread anyway.
Casse: If you could pick one book and swap places with the heroine, which book would you pick and why?
Christie: Yikes. I've read tons of erotica where I've thought, "whew, I'd like a night with this guy." Does that count? Casse: Oh yeah, that definitely counts!
Casse: Where is your favorite place to read? What is your favorite snack food while reading? With a Blog names Read 'em and Eat I had to ask.
Christie: I read in bed every night before I go to sleep. It's the perfect end to what is normally a hectic day. Reading calms my brain down. Since I eat in bed, I don't snack. My blog is called Read 'Em and Eat because sometimes I include reading questions and recipes...just in case you're looking for book club inspiration. *g*
Casse: Do you review every book you read? How do you decide which ones will be reviewed?
Christie: I have something to say about every book I read, although not everything I have to say is necessarily positive.
Thanks to Christie from Read Em and Eat for the interview and the time. My friend Amy from BBAW, Thank you for all of this. Happy blogging!